Many people are in the beginning stages of COPD and may have no real reason to believe that they have it. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is one of those diseases that can creep up on your slowly, and then suddenly become much worse, and that's usually when something is even suspected to be wrong. It's important to go to your doctor with any breathing or other health concerns at the first sign of trouble.
If you smoke and you are over the age of 45, you should definitely get tested if you start coughing or coughing up an excess amount of sputum. Aside from the more obvious, lung-related symptoms of COPD, there are other signs and side effects from COPD that you never would have guessed, even if you've already been diagnosed with the disease.
Your Breathing Becomes Worse During a Storm
It's possible to have your lung function be affected by severe and sudden drops in barometric pressure, especially right before storms that occur during hot, humid weather. Severe storm fronts have been known to cause sudden exacerbations in some people. They can be so bad that you may have to be hospitalized, or all you need to do is take a home breathing treatment or use your rescue inhaler. Hot weather can be very bad for people with COPD already, but couple that with a sudden drop in air pressure, and this could be dangerous combination. When the weather man calls for a storm, keep your rescue inhaler close by and pay attention to your breathing.
Otherwise Unexplainable Chronic Pain
A recent study conducted in Albuquerque, New Mexico showed that almost half of COPD patients suffer from chronic pain that mimics rheumatoid or osteoarthritis, without there being any other chronic diseases present, or really any other reason for the chronic pain.
Depression, Anxiety and Mood Swings
People with COPD often exhibit emotional problems that they previously didn't have before they were diagnosed with COPD. They also may be found to have started having symptoms of depression not long before the COPD diagnosis, since you will most likely have COPD for a while before you are finally diagnosed. People with COPD who have depression or anxiety as well are more at risk for having frequent and severe exacerbations, since emotions have a big impact on breathing patterns. Depression in people with COPD can be brought on by feelings of guilt and remorse, since most cases of COPD are caused by smoking and could have been prevented.
Extreme or Sudden Weight Loss
Before you are diagnosed with COPD, you will likely notice that you have lost a lot of weight without really doing anything. This is because people with COPD use more calories to breathe than people who don't have the disease. If you don't yet know that you have COPD, this can be perplexing, especially if you've tried to gain the weight back by eating more, and that still didn't help you keep your weight on. This can lead to feeling very run down and weak.